Rima’s Story

Rima is 28 years old, she is a Syrian national and has twin girls aged 7 and a son aged 3. Rima’s first husband was killed in Syria and her and her children fled to Greece where they were granted refugee status. Whilst in Greece Rima took part in a documentary, this is how she met her second husband, her perpetrator as he was filming; they married and moved to the UK where he is a resident. Within weeks of the move, her new husband started to abuse her both physically and mentally. Rima told her GP which led to police and social care involvement and a referral to Safer Places. When Rima entered our service she had three children under the age of 7 and was not in receipt of benefits, Rima does have leave to remain under the DDV concession and is entitled to benefits. We supported Rima to access these and in the interim we liaised with social care who agreed to fund a nominated amount until Rima was more financially stable. The universal credit application was made but Rima had no bank account or national insurance number to complete the claim. We supported Rima to overcome these barriers and she now awaiting her Universal Credit Award and housing benefit.

Rima’s children are awaiting confirmation of their school applications and see the health visitor regularly; Rima’s youngest child has been referred for speech therapy. Rima remains in refuge as her housing cannot progress until she receives her National Insurance number which should be through soon. Rima has reported feeling safe in refuge and will be attending the forthcoming Triple R programme. Rima has reported feeling incredibly safe in refuge, she tells us she really benefits from the support she is getting and is starting to think about her future for her and her family, in Rima’s words a future she thought she would ‘never have’.

Adaeze’s Story

Adaeze is 46 years old and has 3 sons, aged 14, 12 and 10, she is Nigerian and has definite to leave to remain but is not entitled to public funds. Adaeze lives in a privately rented property with her perpetrator, the tenancy is in his sole name. Adaeze suffered ongoing verbal abuse which continued to escalate, preceding Adaeze’s call to us her perpetrator beat her in front of the children and she was left with severe bruising and bloodshot eyes. Throughout the assault the perpetrator was telling her he wanted her dead. He was arrest and is currently on bail with conditions not to attend the home. Adaeze works in the NHS as bank staff but is now unable to work nights as she has no child-care, her perpetrator used to look after the children whilst she went to work. Adaeze expects the perpetrator to return home as soon as the bail conditions end and feels incredibly unsafe. Adaeze has approached various housing providers but as she has no recourse she has found it difficult, she is reluctant to come into refuge as she doesn’t want to interrupt her son’s education, she understands it is likely that they would have to move school.

Adaeze was supported by the outreach team to apply for the DDV concession, the Home Office have confirmed receipt of this and a biometrics residence permit has been received. The perpetrator is yet to return to the home as investigations continue and Adaeze is making good progress with accessing safe accommodation. Although uncertain about her future, Adaeze feels that she is making progress, the DDV concession is her hope that her and her family will be safe.

Sarah’s Story

Sarah is 29 years old and was living with her perpetrator, her husband of two years. After being in a relationship for some time before the marriage, the abuse began three months after the wedding date. Sarah and her husband owned several businesses together all of which were in debt as a result of the perpetrators’ financial abuse. This was not Sarah’s first abusive relationship. Throughout her childhood Sarah experienced emotional and sexual abuse from a family member, she lived with her father who was dependent on drugs and emotionally abusive. Sarah then entered into a relationship in her young twenties, this became increasingly violent and when she made the decision to leave her perpetrator raped her. Understandably, the decision to leave this relationship was incredibly difficult, as the abuse continued to escalate Sarah’s husband was sent to prison for other violence offences and criminal activity. Sarah saw this as her chance to flee, closed the businesses and sold most of her belongings to pay off the company debt. Sarah came into our refuge in early July after her perpetrator contacted her and threatened to kill her if he was ever able to find her.

When Sarah came into refuge she was suffering with PTSD and anxiety, homeless and did not have access to finances. During her stay Sarah was supported in regards to her trauma in one to one sessions and attended our Triple R programme, Sarah had never told anyone about the abuse she suffered as a child or the previous rape she was victim of but felt comfortable to disclose. We supported Sarah to attend hr GP, access mental health support and she now has a long-term therapy plan. She was supported with housing and finances; her outstanding debt issues are fully resolved, she now resides in a one bedroom flat in a safe area and has regular benefits, her rent is fully covered by housing benefit. Sarah continues to liaise with the police as some criminal justice aspects are ongoing given the complexity of her husband’s offending; she is progressing in divorcing him and is awaiting the decree nisi.

Sarah tells us that the support she received has changed her life, she feels stronger and more able to face her future. Sarah has even made the decision to start up her own beauty business again.